What Could Chris Matthews Teach You About Speaking In Public?

by drjim on June 1, 2010

Chris Matthews Is The TV Star Of The “Hardball With Chris Matthews” Show

Chris Matthews Is The TV Star Of The “Hardball With Chris Matthews” Show

If you’ve ever wished that there was a formula for giving the perfect speech, are you in luck! Chris Matthews is the host of a couple of TV shows including Hardball with Chris Matthews. He gets paid handsomely for the work that he does now, but he got his start as a humble political speechwriter. Based on all of that experience, he’s come up with a way to give the perfect speech…

It’s All In His Book

Chris has written a book called Life’s a Campaign: What Politics Has Taught Me About Friendship, Rivalry, Reputation, and Success. In this book he lays out his six-step program for creating the perfect speech.

  • Step #1: Break The Ice – When you first take the stage, nobody knows who you are. The first thing that you need to do is to put your audience at ease. One of the best ways to do this is to make a small joke that is based on current events: the room is too cold, it’s raining outside, the local sports team just won / lost. Whatever you say the purpose is to relax your audience and let them know that you are one of them.
  • Step #2: Show Some Skin – Everyone in the audience didn’t just show up there by accident. They are there for a reason – they want to hear what you are going to talk about. Give them a quick “tweet” about what you’ll be talking about just to capture their attention.
  • Step #3 – Share A Story: You need to be able to explain why YOU are up there on the stage. Tell the audience the story of how you were approached and asked to present. The purpose of telling this story is to get your audience to both settle down for your main speech while at the same time building excitement for what comes next.
  • Step #4 – Let Them Have It With Both Barrels – Now is the time to give your audience what they came for: your & message and your content. You may be delivering a lot of information so be sure to break it up into bite sized pieces.
  • Step #5 – Lighten Up: you’ve got to communicate to your audience that the real meat of your speech is now down. The best way to do this is to tell another story, but this time keep it light and make it fun.
  • Step #6 – Launch Them: At the very end of your speech you want to get your audience excited about what they’ve learned from you. Revisit the reason that you were asked to speak and make sure that you leave them with clear direction on how they can use the information that you’ve given them.

What All Of This Means For You

Ok, so I wasn’t completely honest with you – there’s no magic formula that will work for every speech. However, Chris Matthews does have a pretty good approach.

Taking the time to initially connect with your audience, telling stories, and then sharing the content that your audience desires is a powerful way to get your message across.

Chris’ technique should give you a place to start the next time you have to create a speech. Use these six steps to giving a speech in order to truly connect with your audience.

– Dr. Jim Anderson
Blue Elephant Consulting –
Your Source For Real World Public Speaking Skills

Question For You: Do you think that you should deliver your main content in the middle of your speech or does it belong at the beginning or the end?

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What We’ll Be Talking About Next Time

If you’ve ever gotten any training on how to give a speech, the instructor probably told you that if used correctly, hand gestures can be a powerful tool. However, as with all such things in life, do you think that it’s possible to use this tool just a bit too much? Where should a speaker draw the line?

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